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stations, as they may be discovered or present themselves. Even now, qualified teachers are much wanted to write books for the idolatrous heathen, for the catechumens, for converts, and for native preachers.
In the first century of the Christian era, not only did Providence employ the preaching of the Apostles and disciples, but also their writings; the memoirs of Jesus, and the letters of the Apostles, for the instruction of believers and the spread of the Gospel. And history informs us, that the Christians had not only schools for children, but also“ academies" erected in several large cities, in which persons of riper years, especially such as aspired to be public teachers, were instructed in different branches, both of human learning and of sacred erudition. St. John erected, it is said, a school of this kind at Ephesus; and one of the same nature was founded by Polycarp at Smyrna; and the Catechetical School formed at Alexandria, is supposed to have been erected by St. Mark. There were also at Rome, Antioch, Cæsarea, Edessa, and in several other places, schools of the same nature, though not all of equal reputation.*
The writings of well-educated and studious men have, in every age, been a very principal means employed by Providence to preserve and extend the true religion.
During the first and second centuries, it is beyond all doubt that the pious diligence and zeal with which many learned and pious men recommended the Sacred Writings, and spread them abroad in translations, contributed much to the success and propagation of the Christian doctrine. And when Christians were calumniated and misrepresented by Pagan writers, “ Those who, by their apologetic writings in favour of the Christians, destroyed the poisonous influence of detraction, rendered no doubt, signal service to the doctrine of Christ. Nor were the writings of such as combated with success the ancient heretics without their use, especially in the early periods of the church." +
Many of those whom Providence has made most eminently useful, were persons who, like Paul, received the Mosheim, Vol. I. p. 119. † Ibid. Vol. I. p.
benefit of early instruction under some good teacher. A long list of names might be selected from history, were it necessary, and these would prove that colleges, and books, and preachers, have not hindered each other; but have all co-operated, under the divine blessing, for the furtherance of the Gospel.
Jerom of Prague travelled into England for the sake of his studies, and he carried hence the books of Wickliffe, and promoted, with the labours of Huss, the reformation in Bohemia ; some youths of Bohemia, who studied at Oxford, also carried home religious truth. Luther's judgment was, that the written word of God, laid open and rightly explained to the people (either orally or by printed expositions) is the most powerful engine for the destruction of the kingdom of Satan. The divine blessing attended his labours, and the circulation of judicious expositions of various parts of the Scriptures. Aleander burnt Luther's books, but that increased men's curiosity to read them, and Luther re-published them with additional arguments, and in more correct composition. Luther recommended to the churches in Saxony the study of the Latin tongue, that there might be men capable of instructing foreign nations,* by which he seems to have meant the other nations of Europe. .
The London Missionary Society, at the suggestion of the late Dr. Milne, in January, 1823, resolved to employ means to obtain correct versions of the Sacred Scriptures into the languages of Cochinchina, Japan, and Siam. The two first of these are closely allied to the Chinese language, which is, indeed, read by educated Cochinchinese and Japanese ;
I therefore beg to recommend the study of the Chinese language, and desire the countenance of Christians to the Anglo-Chinese College, that there may be men capable of conveying Christian instruction to these foreign nations. The Society's Missionaries, by the very liberal aid of the Bible Society, have already made and printed a translation of the whole Bible into the Chinese language; but one of the
Milner, Vol. IV. p. 608 -- 227. Vol. V. p. 460.
translators died, and the revision which he and his colleague unitedly desired to make, has not been effected. Other labourers should be prepared and qualified to revise, correct, and superintend future editions of the Chinese Bible; and those who desire the end, should encourage the means.
The perfection to which printing has been brought, and the ease of Chinese printing, afford wonderful facilities for the preservation and diffusion of Christian knowledge. How often in China, where the voice of no Christian could reach me, have I been instructed, reproved, and consoled, by the writings of good men who lived centuries ago, and by books which had been printed hundreds of years before their pages were opened to my perusal. How wonderfully, and with what a beneficial effect, are the pious sentiments of Christians of all communions, and of every nation, collected, and sent forth to every region, by the Bible Society's sheets of correspondence, by the Missionary Journals and Registers, by religious Tracts, and similar productions of the press. These instruct and gladden the hearts of thousands, and hundreds of thousands, to whom it would be impossible to convey the same good by the living voice.
Concerning the College, I will make only one more remark. In it the Chinese students are taught the English language, in order to open to them the stores of knowledge which so richly abound in English authors and English translations. By this means, pious writers of former ages, and of the present day, will be made useful to an extent they themselves never could have contemplated; their works will be read in China and Japan, and will contribute, we hope, to the salvation of sinners, the joy of angels, and the glory of God.
Feb. 6th, 1825, at Mr. Stratten's. However, it is God alone who can open the door of faith unto the Gentiles; we would use the means but not rest in them-our hope is in God, and in him only.
I have this morning endeavoured to point out to you the means which are, in my humble opinion, the most appropriate for diffusing Christian knowledge in the farther East,
and I hope you will see it to be right to assist in so good a cause. The strongest motive I can suggest to you is, the love of Christ. Let that constrain you, and then your motives and your practice will assuredly be exactly what they ought. In the degree that we value Christian knowledge for ourselves, in the same degree shall we be anxious to communicate it to others. If we count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, we shall consider the communication of that knowledge the greatest good that we can possibly bestow on a fellow creature; and it is not only so, but it is likewise the most acceptable service that we can perform in the sight of God.
On another Occasion. I do not this evening plead for pecuniary aid in behalf of the Anglo-Chinese College, but only assert its right to a small portion of assistance from every church, that ever utters the prayer dictated by the Divine Saviour, “ Thy kingdom come.” You have had this day to assist yourselves. This is a duty. But you must also labour that you may have to give to him that needeth, as well as provide for your own wants. It is sometimes said, both in reference to gifted labourers and pecuniary resources, and even by principals of Scotch Universities, that “there is much still to be done at home; and whilst wants exist at home, it is Quixotic to send help abroad.” This tale is specious, and suits our selfishness; but it assumes as a correct principle, that till all our wants and wishes are satisfied, we should not alienate any thing belonging to us, or that seems to belong to us; for in fact there is no good that we possess that is strictly ours. Man is but a steward; all things belong to God. However, apart from this consideration, I deny that we must wait until all our own wants be supplied, ere we supply others. I have not food enough for one hearty meal, but my brother has none. England abounds in Bibles, and preachers, and pious books; but there are pagan lands that have comparatively none.
Now, what does the Christian principle say-Shall I eat the whole of my scanty meal, and give my brother none? or shall I share it with him? I say, share it with him. Help yourselves this evening, and at a future day, help the Anglo-Chinese College. I promise you not thanks ; I insist upon it as a duty. Let it not be said of us -all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's;—all seek their own edification only, not the enlargement of the Saviour's kingdom.